Civilian men dating military women
The uniform and grooming standards work to downplay their physical female characteristics. military’s first female combatant commander, put it: “I’m a general, a commander, an airman.
Additionally, the expectation—explicit or implicit—is that they also downplay other attributes that are traditionally considered feminine, such as open displays of emotion. And I happen to be a woman.” When many women leave the service, they expect that being a woman in the civilian community will be easier, but that isn’t always the case. The difference, this time, is that the individuals on the other end are not prepared for them to do so.
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And directly challenging these expectations can often lead to conflict.
On active duty, women were my support network, a situation encouraged both by our small numbers—approximately 15 percent of the active duty force is women—and by the military’s emphasis on teamwork.
Recently, I had dinner with several of my coworkers, all male veterans.
They expect, for example, to be afforded the same respect as their male counterparts—veteran and civilian.
This is not surprising—they are competing on standards that were designed and built by men to bring out the best in men.
The fact that women are competing against those standards at all is hugely important.
That was not, however, why I was in Afghanistan—that was for my role as senior Taliban/Al Qaeda analyst for a three-star general.
This kind of exchange, where a woman’s connection to the military is assumed to be earned by another, most likely male, individual can be insulting and disheartening to a woman who has served.
That’s not to say that gender isn’t going to be noticed or that others aren’t going to make it an issue—they will. They have to prove their abilities all over again, earn their place at the table again. They proved themselves every time they arrived at a new duty station. There are roughly 2 million women veterans in the United States and Puerto Rico, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.